If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

Argentina and Kazakhstan economic relations. Part I

During the last two decades, the bilateral relations between Argentina and Kazakhstan were sporadic and limited to formal contacts.

Since the opening of the embassy of Kazakhstan in the region, Kazakh ambassador to Brasil, Bakytzhan Ordabayev, who is the non-resident ambassador to Argentina visited Buenos Aires a couple of times in order to increase the bilateral contacts and to advance on the negotiation of several agreements: An agreements on economic and trade cooperation, a Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural cooperation and an agreement of cooperation on customs issues.

We should also recognize that although Kazakhstan is not an important trade partner to Argentina. In 2013 it was the 82nd export market (It was the 91st in 2012) and the 87th import market (it was the 115th in 2012).

Regarding the Argentinean imports from Kazakhstan, by large the main product is diesel oil, which represented 95% of those imports during 2013. Anyway, this situation is the consequence of the energy crisis of Argentina and since the government is taking measures to overcome this problem it is not sure if those imports will continue on the future. It will depend mainly not on the Kazakh offer but on the Argentinean demand.

During 2013 Argentina had a strong trade surplus (41, 4 million US$) that represented 90% of the bilateral trade. Anyway, and based in the data provided by the Ministry of Economy (Secretary of Foreign Trade) we cannot affirm that there is a steadily grow or decrease: It reached a peak in 2009 and after falling in 2010 there was a significant increase of the trade on the following years. The reason behind those variations is the lack of a strategy supported by the state institutions to increase the knowledge and the opportunities on those markets.

Another issue is the composition of the trade. Argentinean exports are mainly minerals and meat. Even though those are products important to Argentina, it could be necessary to implement an economic diversification program with a special focus on innovative technologies. This represents a priority for both countries, Argentina and Kazakhstan.

No matter the present situation, there are many economic possibilities on other fields that are at this moment out of this trade. Argentinean technologies (satellite, agricultural, pharmaceutical) should be considered among the most important sector which can have good opportunities on the Kazakh market. On October 2013, during Minister Idrissov visit to Buenos Aires, he said that the priorities will be the «exchange of technologies in the natural gas processing as well as cooperation in oil and gas sector».

From kazakhstani point of view non-developped bilateral economic and trade relations of Kazakhstan with Argentina are reflected in terms of trade. During the first half of 2013. turnover amounted to 22.7 million (6.5 thousand export, import 22.7 million) in 2012 — 42.9 million (187.3 thousand export, import 42.8 million), in 2011 — 41.3 million (10.8 million exports and imports 30.5 million), in 2010 — 69.8 million (exports — 13.6 million, import — 56.2 million); in 2009 — 60.7 million (exports — 20.3 million, import — 40.4 million). To date, the number of main products imported from Argentina to Kazakhstan include sugar, sucrose, ferrous metal pipes, meat cattle. Kazakhstan exports to Argentina products of animal and vegetable origin, food and metals, and articles thereof.

1. Kazakhstan Foreign Minister visits Argentina», available on http://m.mfa.gov.kz/en/article/11947

Dr. Paulo Botta
National University of La Plata, Argentina

Dr. Akbota Zholdasbekova
Academy of Public Service, Institute of Diplomacy, Kazakhstan